Cannabis Kitchen Debuts

by RaeAnne Marsh

Chef Carylann Principal

The largest medicinal cannabis facility in Arizona resides locally in Guadalupe. Newly remodeled and expanded, the 12,000-square-foot Mint Dispensary, with an extensive selection of retail products, also debuted last month the first cannabis kitchen of its kind in the country.

The new kitchen offers a complete menu of artisan burgers, pastas, pizza and other cannabis-infused meals — breakfast, lunch and dinner — that patients can order to go. The recipes were created by local, classically-trained Chef Carylann Principal, whose background includes working among the “who’s who” of New York’s social elite and, more recently, several local establishments, who incorporated her knowledge of nutrition into her own successful battle with cancer — and who accepted the challenge when approached with this revolutionary concept. Along with freshly-made menu items, the new kitchen has a barista, a juice bar, gelato and a wide assortment of pastries. 

The inspiration for the kitchen? “We wanted to redefine the medicinal cannabis experience,” says Eivan Shahara, CEO of The Mint Dispensary, explaining that, while marijuana edibles can be an easy way to get medicated on the go, many patients also want fresh and healthy snacks and infused meals. “In addition to giving patients in Arizona the widest array of medicinal cannabis products under one roof, we can now provide fresh meals and food options, which is important for seriously ill patients who are turning to medicinal cannabis to address a variety of illnesses, from cancer and epilepsy to Alzheimer’s disease. We wanted to use our knowledge about food and nutrition to help people.”

Says Chef Principal, “There are many differences in the marijuana we can use to put into our food/products, butters, oils, etc. … At The Mint Dispensary, we will be very carefully customizing the dosage of the THC for the food.” (Cannabinoids found naturally in marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, creates a psychoactive effect; cannabidiol, or CBD, does not.) Noting that products may have either cannabis butters or oils, depending on the particular food item and what fits best, she adds, “Different strains of cannabis have their own significant terpene profiles that bring surprising flavor to whatever they are incorporated into.”

Chef Principal and her five-member team will prepare a steady stream of foods during the dispensary’s regular operating hours — from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week. Catering services for large medicated events, as well as occasions such as weddings, birthdays and funerals will be offered starting in mid-November. The Mint Dispensary will also introduce home delivery and offer specially-made holiday meals for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve/Day. In all instances, medicinal cannabis cards will be needed for the number of people who will be served.

Among Shahara’s plans for this location are an educational area where patients will be able to participate in free cooking classes (to start this upcoming holiday season) and flower-growing rooms with windows that will allow patients to see the cultivation process. 

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